MP0531 Media Culture

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Follow the history of the teen movie from the 1930s to the 1980s by focusing on two or 3 key examples, such as prewar movies, rebels and the golden age of teens movies in the 1980s.

How have you seen pop music represented onscreen?

Consider two to three examples that are significant, such as the Beatles’ impact on film and the success of Spice Girls.


Film History

Films date back to the 1890s, when motion pictures cameras were first invented and film production firms began being established.

This era was a time when technology was very limited and films were less than one minute in length.

Although motion pictures were created in 1927, they didn’t have sound.

The first ten-years of motion pictures saw film become an established industry. It entertained the masses.

Films could now be as short as five minutes and included many shots (Brown 2017).

1898 saw the invention of a rotating camera to capture panning shots.

Special effects were created in 1897 when the first film studios opened.

In the early 1900s, close up shots were introduced. Films made in this period were called “chase films”.

Animation was introduced to the movies for the very first time in 1899. In Australia, the first multi-reel movie was made in 1906.

The Nickelodeon was the first permanent theatre that showed films starting in 1905.

Since 1910, actors began receiving screen credits for their roles in various movies.

Newsreels were used as a means of spreading information and were shown starting in 1910.

American film industry grew rapidly, and was the most popular in Australia and all European countries except France (Landy (2014)).

Over the years movies were divided into age groups and teen movies emerged.

Hollywood has become very big on teen movies.

The question of whether there were ever teen movies produced before 1950s is still up for debate. This is due to the fact the term ‘teenager’ was not yet invented.

Films depicting young characters during this period were often shown in inconsistent and different ways.

Mary Pickford is, however, credited for creating the “cinema adolescence” at 16, when she became a movie starlet (Berumen (2014)).

In the movies “birth of a Nation” and “all quiet at the western front”, young characters were also depicted, both in 1915-1930.

The idea of the teenager emerged in the 1950S. Studios began to investigate the new demographic.

The studios used this knowledge to give moral lessons to teens by creating morality plays.

In this era, teen films were often depicted as either good or evil. Some would even be on the wrong side.

For example, some films were known as rebel movies.

Another genre of teenage film was musicals and music-centric films.

Many of these films were set in the age of rock and roll.

These movies featured some of the most prominent teenage musical stars, such as Chuck Barry or Little Richard.

The nostalgic movies that were popular among the older generation was rejected by the youth-oriented 1950s group.

They preferred films like “Rock Around the Clock” in 1956 which featured the disc jockey Alan Freed and the Bill Haley and His Comets.

Many films from this period argued that rock’n’roll was exciting and new.

The adults reacted strongly to this and felt that there had been a rise of juvenile delinquency. In 1956, Maxwell Anderson’s stage play, The Bad Seed, was made into a movie adaptation.

Bandstand was first broadcast on WFIL TV in Philadelphia, as a local youth program.

Since 1956, Dick Clark has been the main host of “American Bandstand” and the show has become a staple for rock band performances.

In order to appeal to the teens, actors were miscast. Pat Boone was one example. He played the role of a juvenile criminal who was sent back home to his uncle’s farm for rehabilitation.

In 1960, the youth market was worth approximately $ 10 billion per year (Kirschbaum (2015)

The tragedy struck in the final year of the decade when Buddy Holly, a 22-year-old songwriter, Ritchie Valens, and Richardson, all pop idols, were all killed in a plane collision on 3 February 1959 as they were traveling on a winter dance tour.

Hollywood saw that Hollywood’s teenage population was wealthy and could be exploited. As they were rebellious, happy-go-lucky, and as seen in other films,

Blackboard Jungle, the first film to use rock ‘n roll songs as its soundtrack, was released in 2009.

It featured students led by a disrespectful, punk.

In 1958, another film, “High School Confidential”, was released. It featured drugs being used in high school dope rings (Nowell, 2013,).

Russ Tamblyn was the undercover police officer that disguised himself as a student to take part in drag races and it had lots of slang.

It exploited teenagers’ non-conformist attitudes.

Two other films featured the terrifying, rebellious and self-expressive teenage population.

Marion Brando, a symbol for adolescent rebellion and anti-authoritarian revolt, acted in Streetcar Named Desire’ and The Wild One. He played a memorable role playing a teenager that was self-absorbed.

James Dean is often referred to as “The First American Teenager.” After appearing in three films, he died in 1955.

He starred in East of Eden’, ‘Rebel without a Cause’, which was about juvenile alienation and delinquency.

Brown (2013). He was a teenager who is defiant, mixed-up, and engaged in uncouth behaviours.

Later, he died in a crash but was honored posthumously with the best actor nomination for his performance in “East of Eden.”

Yung individuals loved outdoor drive-ins that featured cheap fare, created specifically for them in a new teenage genre.

Many films were made for teenagers including ‘The Blob, ‘Not of this Earth,’ and ‘The Wasp Woman.

The 1960s’ teen films reflected this era.

This era was all about having fun as a teenager. These movies were mostly about dancing and dating.

These films featured fun music, bright colors and relationship issues.

The Beach Party Movie was the most viewed movie in these years.

Many movies featured musical guests. One example is the film by Tom Hanks titled ‘That Thing You Do.’ This movie was one of many major trends in 1960’s cinema. TV shows like Ozzie and Harriet featured white teens.

There were stories of carefree teens as well, which counterbalanced some of the more violent and mixed-up films of the 1960s. (Hantke 2017, 2017).

This first film about surfing in Hollywood was followed by many others.

It featured a petite, tomboy-surfer teenage girl and Francie Lawrence, a student.

American International Pictures was formed in 1956. It realized the youth’s buying power and promoted their films aggressively, saying that this was what happens when 10000 kids meet on 5000 blankets.

The beach movies became popular music and were loved by teenagers.

In the 70s, teens films were serious.

Carrie, an iconic and frightening film, examined the subject of bullying and high school experience.

American Graffiti, however, focuses on complex relationships that were being faced by teens.

They were well-received in the 70s.

American Graffiti was included in the US Library of Congress National Film registry because of its historical, cultural and aesthetic significance.

These teen films were mostly comedy, satires, or musicals. They were all directed at teens (Floriano (2015)).

They mocked society’s expectations and asked that viewers do the exact same.

Grease was the most controversial and influential film.

Grease is more popular than previous decades. It focuses on the sexual relationships and platonic interactions between Rydell High’s teenagers.

In the following decades, high school films emphasized themes such as sex and popularity.

Grease isn’t known for its good morals.

Rizzo has a miscarriage scare which turns out not to be anything.

The characters are able to get away with almost nothing.

The entire film is a tale of one’s journey to become who they are no matter how twisty or questionable.

Most people agree that teen films didn’t really exist prior to this era.

Studios started to use new strategies to target teens, and teen movies production exploded. These films were some of the best depictions of teenage experiences ever made.

John Hughes’ films, such as Ferris Bueller and 16 candles, were directed at teens.

Films like “The Karate Kid”, “Dirty Dancing, Say Anything”, heathers, or the Dead Poets Society were also classics.

Many teen films from this period dealt with both the superficial struggles that teens face and more serious issues, such as the impact of divorce, gangs, death and other harmful effects. (Stanfield 2013).

These films have endured the test of time because they represent the whole teenage experience.

This era was characterized by teens who were fresh-faced and new, and were considered brat packs.

They were featured in many movies, including the Breakfast Club, which was pretty in pink and had sixteen candles.

The breakfast club was popular, and helped in developing the notion that school doesn’t have to be full o cliques and that secrets are kept secretly. Everyone was equal and could get along (Snelson 2013).

The original film of hairspray is about racial discrimination, though it was shot in Baltimore in 1962. However, it emphasizes the fact that we all are one.

In the 80s, teenage films were heavily influenced by sex. Later it became a central theme for many films.

Brat pack films were much less crude and vulgar than modern movies.

Ferris Bueller’s day off is a film that focuses on high school students. It also shows that adults don’t always have the right answers, which adds to the fact that not everyone is right at school.

Ferris Bueller plays the role of a character who skips school and pretends to be on calls but is still loved.

He understands how to make it through and that they must embrace everything that happens (Burnett (2015)).

The school system teaches people how to conform. You need to work hard in order to find a job, money, and a house.

Ferris is an excellent kid. His family and friends love him.

Film studios opened new genres in the 1990s and explored more than the teenage experience.

Can’t wait and American Pie dealt with the transition to high school. While pump up the volume and Can’t wait focused on how teens react to the world around them and whether they have the power or the ability to make their own decisions.

Rollins, 2015: The studios started producing horrors such as scream;I know what your did last summer, faculty, urban legend, and disturbing behavior.

These films were big box-office hits, and teenagers still saw them in cinemas, despite having low ratings.

Some classic films are about high school life, even though they have been expanded into other genres.

Jawbreaker focused on popularity and hierarchies at high school, while clueless addressed high school hierarchy.

Cliques were a common theme during this time, as the film clueless shows.

Popularity was a major theme in this movie. The main storyline involved the transformation of a new girl to become one of the most famous girls in school.

The school’s popular children have good grades and can persuade teachers to raise their grades.

Cher, the main character uses teachers to achieve a higher grade. Her plan to help her colleagues is for her to do makeovers to get them boyfriends.

The film has a happy end for Cher, but it’s not the right morale for teenagers.

High school movies were sung in this era.

Cliques are made up of attractive kids, geeks and coffee shop kids.

A female lead who is mysterious and doesn’t get along well with everyone, but falls in love secretly with a guy who is sensitive and bad.

Another character is a quiet and kind person who loves swooning over a pretty girl (Clark 2013, 2013).

These story lines fit into high school movies of the future and past, which share similar cliques, relationships, and parental issues.

There is a school and there is a prom with a happy ending.

American pie is a wonderful example of how teenage movies are geared towards alcohol and sexuality rather than friendship.

The film emphasizes gross humor, and the teens realize that life after high school is not over. (Christopherson 2013).

The film ends abruptly.

Film studios made movies of all genres in this era.

This decade was distinguished by the idea that teens are intelligent young people, yet to mature.

In this era, the film focused on issues such as school shootings. Through the film elephant, crushing parental controls in the movie the virgin suicides. The film also addressed how high school girls should treat each other in the film mean girl. It also dealt with socio-economic and class differences in the movie the class. (Freeman, 2015).

These films addressed a broad range of topics.

Superbad and Juno were also popular for their teen comedy.

In this era, the homicidal teenage was also shown.

Horror stories were covered in films such as swim fan, urban legends 2 and Jennifer’s body.

Superbad is one among the most popular movies of that time.

It centers on the need to become popular and drink.

Its authenticity is what makes it stand out.

It features familiar characters from high school that are portrayed in the film (Schindler (2014)).

Superbad is a landmark in teen cinema because it reflects high school life perfectly and is nostalgic.

Many outstanding films were made in this era for young adults.

Many films, such as “The perks and joys of being a Wallflower”, “The Hunger Games” and “Spring Breakers”, have added their own style to the teen movie genre.

21 Jump Street, for example, has a strong focus upon popularity and how trends and things change over time.

Channing Tatum is one of the characters. He wanders the school’s parking lot and cannot remember the world he used to control seven years earlier.

He dislikes the eco-friendly, cool kids.

Films such as “The perks and joys of being a wallflower” deal with other teenagers who do not live a glamorous or exciting high-school life.

It puts a spotlight on high school social circles and partying, as well as the loneliness that comes with being seen differently (Kirby (2014)).

A major theme is the importance of true friendship.

Project x doesn’t have a message for the audience.

It examines the culture and behavior of teens at teen parties.

It glorifies drugs, misogynistic attitudes toward women, the ability of teenagers to cause havoc in their neighborhood, and alcohol.

They may set fire to cars using a flamethrower or become friends with dealers who do.

Film’s common history is divided into the 50s, and 80s.

These stories can be compared as the 50s focus on teenagers and how they could be made into films, while the 80s concentrates on the consolidation of all teen films.

Most scholars agree that the invention of teen films occurred in 1950s.

The 1980s was a period of renaissance for teen movies. Teens have continued to grow, and films need to be made to meet that demand.

Though ideas about teenagers weren’t all American, Hollywood’s establishment of itself as the most important film industry couldn’t have come at a better moment. It influenced teen movies.

It is possible to see the early forms of teen movies to understand how Hollywood has helped to grow the genre.

The advent of the teen movie was during a period when the cinema developed new genres.

Genres were used to appeal to different audiences, produce novelty and have repeat success.

Because teen films have a lot of history and culture, there has been more discussion.

The growth of the film industry has been aided by teen films. They have a large audience that has increased over time.

These films are a reflection on society and what teens go through in their daily lives.

Many of these films have inspired teenagers, who take lessons from them and apply them in their everyday lives.

These movies have given teens confidence and shown them that friendship is more important than being popular (Combs and Combs, 2013).

They are now more aware of the negative effects that drugs and alcohol have on their lives and how they can impact their school and personal lives.

As the decades pass, the teen movie industry continues to grow.

The number of genres is increasing, but the packaging is changing.

Because the film industry has grown so many people can get roles in these films, there are many jobs.

Many opportunities have been opened up by teen films.

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